Three COVID-19 vaccines — Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer — are currently available in the U.S. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has voted to authorize a vaccine from pharmaceutical company Novavax for use in adults ages 18 and older.
But what is the Novavax vaccine, and how does it differ from the others? These and other questions are answered below.
An Effective Vaccine Used in 40 Countries
Many in the U.S. haven’t heard of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, but people in other parts of the world are familiar with it. Approximately 40 countries are using the vaccine and have found it to be 90% effective in preventing lab-confirmed infection and 100% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease.
The data experts used to calculate those figures was gathered before the Omicron variant began circulating. Consequently, researchers haven’t yet determined its effectiveness against Omicron and the BA.2 subvariant.
Possible side effects from the Novavax vaccine are similar to those of others. They include pain and redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue, and muscle pain. Rare cases of conditions called myocarditis and pericarditis were observed in the clinical trial. They affected six out of 40,000 participants. But overall, the risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 if you aren’t vaccinated far outweighs the risks associated with any approved vaccines.
Different Vaccine Type, Same Result
The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine (which the company markets under the brand names Nuvaxovid and Covovax) is a protein adjuvant. It’s given in two doses three weeks apart. There are advantages to this type of vaccine, including that it’s easier to produce and can be stored in a refrigerator, making distribution and supply management easier.
The way it works is that it contains a coronavirus spike protein, but one that the company creates as a nanoparticle that can’t cause COVID-19. The virus stimulates a recipient’s immune system, causing it to produce antibodies and priming it to attach real virus particles should they enter the body.
Another Option for the Unvaccinated
Approximately a third of those in the U.S. who are eligible to be vaccinated aren’t yet fully vaccinated. In addition, over 20% haven’t received even one dose. Officials hope that some of those who’ve been reluctant to get vaccinated will find a protein-based vaccine more appealing.
Protect Yourself, Your Loved Ones, and Your Community
Spikes in COVID-19 cases continue to occur around the U.S., even with people spending more time outside. There’s no telling what will happen when fall weather arrives and indoor gatherings increase.
The best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is get fully vaccinated and boosted with any approved vaccine. To schedule your first vaccine or a booster, just visit ScheduleYourVaccine.com.